by Marlene Evans
Founder of the Christian Womanhood Magazine
One of the best kept secrets from moms is the fact that every child is a problem child. This secret surely must be a trick of the devil since there is so much Scripture to help us know that every child is a problem child. In fact, we adults are just grownups still fighting problems we had as children.
“There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.” (Romans 3:11)
“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” (Psalm 51:5)
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10)
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
We give lip service to the knowledge that each child just has a different set of strengths and weaknesses, and each child comes ready to be trained and tempered by parents. Then, we get an “angel” amongst our children— often one who is quiet and polite and presents few outward problems to parents or friends. Sometimes the “angel” is a cute child full of personality (the one no one can resist).
I feel more sorry for these “angels” than I do for the problem child. The problem child is sometimes noisy, awkward and destructive, and he tells everything that pops into his mind. The old saying, “What you see is what you get,” holds true here. The parents, everyone in the store, and each church goer sees and/or complains loud and long about the problem child, which tends to brainwash a parent into thinking the “angel” who gives so little trouble needs little help.
Because of this pressure from friends to clean up the act of the problem child, he often gets more help, time and discipline while the other one quietly seethes and waits to get revenge.
Allow me to give just two examples from my years in teaching and Christian work.
A family who had two girls were blessed very definitely with an “angel” and a problem child. The problem child caused no real havoc but was ornery, thereby causing adults all kinds of discomfort. She questioned all the rules of life and, in general, caused adults to feel uncomfortable. This discomfort often came as a result of not being able to answer the questions, not being able to admit they couldn’t answer the questions, and, therefore, not knowing how to help the child find the answers.
The “angel” never asked any questions and was a sweet, polite girl who was greatly admired by the older ladies of the church. The problem girl found her way to get answers; the “angel” didn’t need any answers in the minds of the adults in her life.
Today the sweet girl is married to an unsaved man going the way of the world, training her children to do the same. They are what the world would call good citizens. The problem girl has been married to a fine Christian man who, with her help, has worked with Christian young people for years and years. A scenario such as this doesn’t have to work out this way, but far too often it does.
A young lady of my acquaintance was a joy to rear, requiring little time, discipline or tempering from her parents throughout her days at home. She lived in her room studying, typing, doing sewing, and making crafts. She now has been out of her home for more years than she lived in her parental home. By her own admission, as well as from observation, I can safely say she has spent every day of her adult life “paying back” her folks for not getting her out of her room once in a while and getting to know what her particular set of problems were.
God gives parents, preachers, teachers and adult friends to help each child in the way he needs it—not to enjoy or dislike them as we label them. Let’s help the children!